EMMITSBURG, Md. – Playing in its second straight extra-inning game against Mount St. Mary’s, the Lehigh baseball team bounced back from a heartbreaking loss Friday night to defeat the Mountaineers 10-9 in 12 innings on Saturday. After rain halted play for two hours in the sixth inning and the Mountain Hawks relinquished the lead in the 10th, an RBI single up the middle by senior Casey Turner drove in junior Brandon Wilt from second base for the winning run.
The victory gives the Brown and White a 10-6 record on the season and a mark of 5-2 on their spring break road trip. Game Two of the doubleheader scheduled for Saturday was canceled following Game One, which lasted five hours and 45 minutes including the rain delay.
Mount St. Mary’s (4-10) got off to a fast start, reeling off five runs in the second inning off Lehigh junior starter Jayme Edwards. The Mountain Hawks had two errors in the inning, while RBI singles from Jay Knight, Brandon Scott and Mark Quaranta put the Mountaineers up 5-0. Lehigh battled back to score four runs over the next four innings, as sophomores John Elson and Connor Faust hit sacrifice flies and sophomore Pat Walshe came home on the second wild pitch of the game from Connor Graber in the sixth inning. Lehigh faced a 7-5 deficit in the bottom of the sixth with two outs when the game was delayed by rain.
The Mountain Hawks outscored the Mountaineers 5-2 after the delay, with Abeln scoring on back-to-back errors by Knight and Mountaineer catcher Andrew Clow in the seventh. For the second day in a row, Lehigh found itself down to its last strike in the bottom of the ninth. With Lehigh trailing 8-6, Faust picked up a clutch two-run double off Jordan Lawson that brought in Turner from third and Abeln from first.
Lehigh took a 9-8 lead on a solo home run by Brandon Wilt in the top of the 10th, but sophomore Nick Stephens surrendered a run off a Quealy RBI groundout in relief to tie the game again in the bottom half of the extra inning.
“We still felt really good about the last five innings and how we had been competing at a very high level, so we just went right back after it,” Lehigh head coach Sean Leary said.
Spectacular defensive plays kept the Mountain Hawks in the game, as Abeln threw out pinch runner Buddy Fields to end the Mountaineer threat in the 11th and Nick Walker was picked off first base after reaching on a single with one out in the 12th. Junior Nick Cassell earned the win with a strikeout of Scott for the final out. Scott Nickerson was tagged for the loss.
Wilt went 3-for-6 at the plate and scored three runs. Abeln also scored a trio of runs for Lehigh, while Faust had three RBI. Quaranta finished the game 2-for-4 and Zane Bard scored a pair of runs for Mount St. Mary’s, who committed seven errors in the ballgame. The extra inning affair was Lehigh’s longest game since a 12-inning marathon at St. Bonaventure in 2010.
The Mountain Hawks will kick off their home schedule with a game against Temple at 3 p.m. Tuesday on Goodman Campus and host LIU Brooklyn at 3 p.m. Friday.
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